Even with a sturdy, all-season running track, it’s important to keep a few winter-weather precautions in mind while planning for the snowfall. During the colder winter months, the rubberized track surface becomes more brittle and is prone to surface damage. Due to the rigidity of the surface, you must protect your surface from studded/spiked cleats and tools like shovels, plows, and any other device that has the potential to scrape, chip, or penetrate the frigid surface layer.
While most runners will opt for an indoor track or a shoveled grass field during the snowy months, the few that choose to continue using the track can do so with soft/smooth rubber running shoes. Walking and running on the track can help to accelerate the natural melting processes, exposing more of the track’s surface area to warm sunlight.
Pro tip: Create drainage channels leading into the infield to aid in the melting/runoff process. This will help to prevent ice formation on the running surface caused by ice-melt pooling.
If the snow is light and loose, a very soft bristled broom can be used to sweep away light accumulation. If the snow has collected and compacted, do not attempt to scrape or chip the snow away from the surface. As heavier snow and ice form a solid crust, removing this layer with any amount of force can agitate, break, and compromise the impermeable track surface layers underneath.
In overview, follow these tips to keep your track safe from the majority of wintertime damage and simultaneously protect runners from injury:
- Avoid using snow-clearing devices that utilize excessive force of any kind. Do not use a snowblower, leaf blower, plow, or shovel.
- Regularly inspect the surface for debris and remove any objects. Sticks, trash, and rocks are both tripping hazards and can damage the surface when snagged by shoes
- Cleats, spiked running shoes, and any other shoe type besides soft rubber shoes are prohibited
- Advise runners to walk the track first to inspect for ice
- Place clear signage around the track fencing/entry with the above tips. The best surface protection begins with proactive athlete education!
Avoid Premature Surface Damage With Proactive Care
In tune with the tips above, ensuring that your surface is in great shape before the winter season is key. We provide comprehensive inspections and cost-effective maintenance, and will gladly help you evaluate the integrity of your surfaces and determine if your surface could benefit from preventative care. During routine track and athletic turf maintenance, our experts look for cracks, missing sections of material, or damage along the edges that can lead to water invasion and additional damage caused by the shrinking/expanding of ice.
To overcome any noticeable issues, we provide both sectional repairs and complete running track resurfacing services. Our proven processes reseal and fortify the surface layers, guaranteeing that your track is professionally protected from ice melt, heavy snow, and normal track use.